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Ohio’s 25,000 sex offenders got a big surprise earlier this month when the state told them that starting Jan. 1 they will have to register longer than they previously thought, and in many cases they’ll have to register more often.
Nearly one third will go from registering addresses with the sheriff’s office in the county where they live annually for 10 years to having to register every 90 days for life.
Most others will have five years tacked onto their 10-year reporting requirement, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
The tougher requirements – although controversial – are designed to keep better tabs on sex offenders, a group that moves often and frequently crosses state lines.
- No, it's about further punishment, making people register and pay for registering for life, so the state makes TONS of money exploiting money from sex offenders. How does increasing sentences and fines make it easier to keep tabs on them? It doesn't, it's about cruel and unusual punishment, and violating the Constitution to see what people are willing to accept. Then, their rights will be wiped out, one day.
The closer scrutiny comes at a price, because registrations will nearly double, creating more work for sheriff’s offices, which are charged with making sure the addresses are correct and tracking down those who don’t register.
In passing the Adam Walsh Child Protection Act, state lawmakers say they are making communities safer. But critics say it’s a false sense of security because most offenders are people the victim already knows.
- You are not, you are doing this to get more grant money and to punish offenders more, and to test the waters to see what people are willing to accept, before removing their rights.
State Sen. Steve Austria (Email), R-Beavercreek, who introduced the law, said tracking sex offenders keeps everyone safer.
- How? I'd love to hear how you think this will protect anybody? It's easy to say that, but where are your FACTS to back it up?
“This law sends a very strong message that our state has zero tolerance for sex offenders,” said the father of three. “If you commit these violent crimes, we will take you off the streets for a very long time, and if you get out we will continue to monitor your whereabouts.”
- Not all sex offender related crimes are violent crimes, like you are misleading everyone to believe, to look tough to the sheeple. You forgot to add "punish you" into your statement, which I believe you really mean. What about upholding the Constitution like you TOOK AN OATH TO UPHOLD? Did you lie??? Apparently so...
But David Singleton, executive director of the Ohio Justice & Policy Center who works to reform the criminal justice system, said the law is unconstitutional.
Amelia Orr, executive director of Community Counseling & Crisis Center in Butler County, which handles that county’s rape crisis program, called the registry a scare tactic that gives people a “superficial sense of security.”
The Adam Walsh Child Protection Act – named for Adam Walsh, 6, who was kidnapped from a Florida department store and killed in 1981 – was signed into law by President Bush in July 2006. It calls for national conformity on varying sex offender laws across the country.
- And it was NEVER proven Adam was killed by a sex offender. He was killed by a serial killer!
States are now being called on to implement the new guidelines. Ohio is one of six states to pass the legislation.
- Or face penalties of not receiving grant money. So money is the root of all these EVIL laws.
Kentucky is still reviewing its options, said Kentucky State Police Lt. Phil Crumpton. “It’s quite an extensive project, we’re working our way to compliance,” he said.
In the past, judges decided how long and how often a convicted sex offender had to register on the likelihood that person would re-offend. Judges could choose one of seven designations, which required a minimum 10 years of registration and went as high as a lifetime registration.
- So you are trying to predict the future... How can you punish someone now for something they "MAY" do in the future? You cannot punish them until the crime is committed.
Lists of offenders could be found online – searchable by county or ZIP code. In the worst cases, communities would be notified.
Now, designations will be based on what charge a person faced.
Minor sex offenders can face once-a-year registration for 15 years, but people convicted on the most serious charges like rape and sexual battery must register every 90 days for life.
- And they are not telling you these offenders must pay for registering as well, so they are extorting money from them, forcing them into homelessness, and then back to prison, where they make more money on them. Prison is a business, which pays very well...
Unlike most laws that apply going forward, the changes affect offenders dating back to 1997 when the state registry was created.
- Thus violating the Constitution's issues on creating ex post facto laws.
The law allows sexual offenders to file a court challenge to their new designation.
About 18,000 of the state’s 27,000 offenders live in Ohio’s 88 counties, the rest are serving prison terms. With 1,959 on the sex offender registry, Hamilton County has the second highest number of offenders behind Cuyahoga County.
“The goal is to create uniformity among the states and close loopholes when offenders move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction,” said Assistant Ohio Attorney General Erin Rosen.
For instance, in the past, people convicted in other states of child pornography flocked to Ohio, where that crime didn’t require registration. The revamped law makes it a registration-required offense, Rosen said.
Holli Burd, 34, a North College Hill mother, thought her 10-year registration requirement would be up before her 14-month-old daughter starts school.
But, the new law means Burd, convicted in Warren County of sexual battery in 2002 for having sex with a 14-year-old boy, will have to register for life.
Burd said she cried when she heard about the extended registration. “It’s like they’re coming back and punishing me all over again, but worse,” she said.
- No, that is exactly what they are doing, violating the Constitution in the process.
Burd said she would have pleaded not guilty if such a restriction was attached. “I understand there are people out there that must be monitored on a daily basis, but I am not one of them,” she said.
In her case, she said the sex was consensual and she thought the victim was older. She sees it as part of her old life. She has since married and had a child.
Burd is pinning her hopes on a challenge the Ohio Justice & Policy Center is helping her file.
Once convicted rapist Sidney Souffrance is released from prison he’ll be in the same predicament.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge David Davis sentenced Souffrance to seven years in prison on a rape charge for raping a high school student at his home. When the victim failed to show up at sentencing, Davis designated him a sexually oriented offender.
Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Megan Shanahan, who prosecuted the case and still remembers how the victim shook in fear as she testified, applauded the changes. “These people need to be kept on short leashes,” she said. “The fact that we’ll know where Suffrance is for the rest of his life is fantastic.”
Not everyone thinks the changes are a good idea.
The Ohio Justice & Policy Center, a Cincinnati-based non-profit agency, filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court in October challenging the retroactive portion of the law.
- You cannot change someones sentence anytime you like, after the fact, this is why so many law suits are being filed. When the person was convicted, they signed a CONTRACT which stated their sentence, and now, they are TEARING UP that contract and redoing it, without the offenders consent, which is illegal, or is for any other COMPANY!! And yes, the injustice system is a business...
The court determined last week that the lawsuit had to be first filed on a county level. Center officials are looking for the right venue, but will re-file soon, Singleton said.
“There’s probably no more unconstitutional law in the history of the state that what the legislature has done with the Adam Walsh Act,” Singleton said.
“We think tying registration duties to offenses (makes) registration part of the punishment and you can’t punish retroactively,” Singleton said. “It’s unconstitutional on a number of grounds.”
Sheriff’s offices are grappling with how to handle the swelling tide of sex-offender registrations.
Margarita Mergy, assistant coordinator of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office sex offender program, said her office will see all of Hamilton County’s 1,959 sex offenders between Jan. 1 and June 1.
She expects about 800 will have to register longer and more often. In the past, about 350 registered every 90 days, all involve an in-person check by a deputy.
“It will be a lot more work,” she said.
Currently about 3,000 in-person address checks are done each year, a number that will likely double, she said. “That’s somebody’s pay, gas, wear and tear on vehicles along with officer safety issues,” she said.
She wondered where the money to pay for the work will come from. “That question has not been answered yet,” she said.
- So why pass a law when this has not been determined? Insane! I'm sure they will figure out a way to further punish sex offenders and make them pay for it, those who are not homeless anyway.
Clermont County Sheriff A.J. “Tim” Rodenberg estimated the new law will take the equivalent of one deputy away from their duties.
“In essence we got an unfunded mandate,” Rodenberg said.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
OH - Sex offenders face tougher rules
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